A property in Margate has been shut down following persistent problems with antisocial behaviour, drugs and ‘cuckooing’ – where someone takes over another person’s property without their consent, often using it as a base for drug dealing
Thanet District Council and Kent Police obtained the Premises Closure Order on the property in Addington Street, which prevents anyone, including the tenant, from entering it. The property has been physically secured by changing and replacing door and window locks.
This order follows an earlier Premises Closure Order, with exemptions, which was granted on Thursday 18 May, giving police powers of arrest if anyone other than the tenant was present at the property over three months.
The action has been supported by Kent Police and Riverside Housing Association. It comes as a number of agencies continue to work together as part of the Thanet Community Safety Partnership (TCSP).
There had been an increase in reports of nuisance and disorder coming from the property for several weeks. There had also been an increase in the number of visitors to the property. A number of warnings were issued but were ignored, including the Premises Closure Order.
The new court order, granted by Margate Magistrates, is for a full closure of the property from 23 August to 22 November.
Inspector Lara Connor, from Thanet Community Safety Unit, said: “The conditions of the Premises Closure Order with exemptions granted in May allowed only the tenant to remain in his flat and prevent anyone else from being there to reduce criminal activity.
“But within a fortnight our officers received calls of concern from residents regarding loud music, anti-social behaviour and drug-related activity. Visits to the property by police led to the arrests of unauthorised people who were found there on three separate occasions over three months.
“In total five people were arrested for breaching the order, and three of those were also arrested for drugs offences as well. The occupant was also served with a Community Protection Notice warning him over his continued anti-social behaviour.
“Good security measures were in place at the flat so any visitors should have been refused entry to the property.
“Unfortunately the occupant showed a lack of cooperation with the closure order, and little consideration for surrounding residents, so we are pleased that the district judge at Margate Magistrates’ Court granted a full closure order.
“We know how detrimental persistent anti-social behaviour can be for a community and we will take action against those who are breaking the law and in this case shown to repeatedly flout the terms of a court order.”
Cllr Lesley Game, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety at Thanet District Council said: “Thanet District Council does not tolerate unacceptable behaviour which exploits vulnerable people, and makes others nearby feel unsafe. We take this type of criminal activity extremely seriously, and will not allow one property to disrupt others.”
Michael Anderson, Riverside’s Regional Services Manager for Thanet, said: “Riverside is committed to tackling the blight of anti-social behaviour and protecting the communities we serve.”